Sunday, December 31, 2017

Why Not Hire a Pet Sitter from a Listing Service?

When searching for a pet sitter you may have seen an ad for a national listing service for pet sitters. The trouble with a listing service is that it enables anyone and everyone to hang out a shingle. Friends can create the glowing reviews and background checks are optional. The business is run through a call center in another state.

When making the important decision as to who you will give your house keys to and trust with the care of your precious pets consider the following list we've compiled from our experience.

  1. Local ownership is important. Unlike a listing service with a call center in another state, you can call the owner of our locally owned and operated company should you have any issues, questions, complaints or concerns. You are the highest priority we have.
  2. We know our pet sitters. We interact with each pet sitter daily to make sure they have everything they need, to answer questions and to offer support. Our small team has an active chat room and everyone participates in the support and camaraderie. 
  3. Your schedule is our priority. The whole team pulls together to support our clients in the event of a pet sitter's illness or emergency. Our scheduling system also sends alerts to the manager if any visit is not started before the time frame ends and immediate action is taken to support that visit.
  4. A local reputation is everything. A locally owned company has a valuable presence in the community. Our business is built upon our reputation and you will love our customer service as much as your pets will love our visits.
  5. Making sure someone visits your pets. Consider that if you hire an individual that person is accountable to no one while you are away. We've heard horror stories of pets being abandoned without care for days! We have a scheduling system with GPS arrival and completion reports that are sent to you after every visit and our schedule alerts make it impossible for visits to be missed. 
  6. Team Security and Accountability. Your team of two pet sitters will make sure that every visit is covered and all tasks are done every time. Our team doesn't allow anyone to get by without washing the pet dishes or picking up the poo in the yard and new sitters are coached by the team to provide the consistent care our standards require.
Whether you hire us or someone else we encourage you to do your homework before turning over your keys and your pets to their care. Make sure there are safeguards in place for you to know the person is coming to your house; this could be in the form of security cameras or an alarm system or door lock system that notifies you - especially in the absence of receiving GPS and time-stamped arrival and completion reports.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

At Home Dog Boarding

Did you know we also offer At Home Dog Boarding? Your dog will receive tender, loving care in the comfort of a pet sitter's home while you're traveling. Here is what you can expect for your beloved pet:

  • Individualized attention - not a kennel environment!
  • 24 hour personal care.
  • Couch potato time - no extra charge!
  • Customized care for special needs pets. Blind dogs, deaf dogs, diabetic dogs - no problem!

Here is what we'll need to know about your dog:

  • Does he get along with other dogs? (Our sitters have dogs!)
  • How about cats? (And most of us have a cat or two!)
  • Is he crate trained? (For safety we prefer to crate dogs when we run errands)
  • Is he fully housebroken? 
  • We can accommodate puppies but there is an extra charge because, let's face it, puppies are work!
  • We'll need the vaccination records
Here is what you'll receive while you're traveling:
  • Pictures and videos!
  • Activity Reports
  • Group chat with the pet sitter so you can communicate with ease, at any time!
We offer Pick Up and Drop Off service. 

Our At Home Dog Boarding is limited to one client at a time at each sitter's house and advance reservations are required as this service books quickly!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Pet Sitting and Cream Cheese

I have a cream cheese addiction. I like to take my daily vitamins with a few crackers and cream cheese before starting an action packed day of pet sitting.

Recently, I decided to try the grocery store brand that was on sale. It had a sour taste and I thought maybe the package was bad so I threw it away. The next day I noticed the new package also had the same unpleasant taste. I gave my husband a few crackers with cream cheese on them and he also said it tasted funny. I disliked it so much I missed taking my vitamins for a few days until I went back to the store to get the brand name cream cheese we all know and love.

I couldn't wait! I had to treat myself to a snack before dinner and the joy at having that silky, creamy spread on the crackers was divine. I will never go back to the discounted brand again. You get what you pay for.

The same is true for pet sitting and pet boarding. We have heard a number of complaints from new clients about other pet sitting companies and hobbyists (the difference being, a company will have a business license, insurance and bond whereas a hobbyist will not but may invest in a car magnet and business cards). 

The complaints ranged from two separate clients telling us they came home to have to clean their bathrooms of human waste to a client who saw on his cameras that the pet sitter did not come for visits and he had to rush home due to being unable to reach her to a client whose cat died from neglect having been locked in a bedroom for 2 weeks. 

We may be a few dollars more than other pet sitters. We are most definitely more than you would pay the kid next door. We invest in our business by utilizing a scheduling system that gives you GPS check in and check out time-stamped arrival and completion reports so you will know, with certainty, that your pet sitter was at your house at the scheduled times and you'll know how long they spent with your pets. We invest in our team by having a group chat where every pet sitter has immediate team support and by having team meetings and dinners that build our relationships. We invest in our clients by studying and perfecting our customer service practices. We invest in pets by participating with local rescues and continuing our pet care education through experience and reputable sources.

If you have had a bad taste we encourage you to not give up on the amazing pet sitting industry. Try a brand that has a great reputation! 

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Biking With Dogs

Biking with your dogs is an excellent way to exercise them and stimulate their natural need to explore. With the proper hook-up you can do this safely and easily. Read our article to see the video of how to hook your dog to your bike.

Daenerys and Simba love their morning bike ride but boy is it hot! We go early in the morning and we take 2 or 3 shade breaks. 

When we get back to the house they get to have their bellies and feet cooled down with a gentle spray from the hose and that feels so good!


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Animal Hoarding

Our Free Consultations are typically done 24-48 hours before travel so the pets remember us and the details discussed at the meeting are current. We have, unfortunately, encountered several animal hoarding situations that have caused us to adopt the policy that we reserve the right to refuse service to any pets kept in an unhealthy situation.

Unhealthy Conditions We've Encountered
Our pet sitters are emotionally drained when they are unable to provide our level of care to the pets in their charge. They have stayed longer than scheduled to clean as much as possible but when animal feces are all over the house and the cleaning supplies are limited they are forced to leave the animals in only slightly better conditions than when they entered the home. 

This is not to say that all homes with many pets will be refused. On the contrary! We have had many clients over the years with a variety of pets, a collection of cats, breeding show dogs and all sorts of livestock. It is not uncommon for us to care for a dozen or more animals at one home. 

The deciding factor for refusal of service is the health of the animals and the environment in which they are kept. Cages, litter boxes, corrals and kennels as well as food and water bowls must be clean. The home doesn't have to be clean but it must be free of animal feces. If you have any questions about your situation just give us a call and we'll talk about it!

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Plant Watering Service

What do you do if you have plants that need to be watered when you travel? You'll be happy to know that we offer a plant watering service! Not all of our clients have pets, some of them just have plants. Each summer when those clients travel they call on us to take loving care of their plants and gardens.

No job is too big or too small. The plants pictured belong to a client who has 72 potted plants throughout her back yard! Whether you have a large vegetable garden, outdoor flower gardens, potted plants on your patio or a few indoor houseplants, we will take expert care of them.

We have been called upon to water an exotic orchid collection (ok, this one caused us stress with the delicate nature of the species, the humidifier and lighting but they were fine!), harvest vegetables while watering a large garden, give precise amounts of water for pots that don't drain and take care of hundreds of potted plants over the years. Our Green Thumb Specialists are always up for the assignments!


Monday, May 1, 2017

Fun Things To Do With Your Dog This Summer

Goodbye Spring, Hello Summer!

As the desert heats up in May you may be thinking it is too hot for dog activities. While it's true there are a lot of things you shouldn't do there is still plenty of fun to be had in the great outdoors with our furry friends!

Swimming! If you have a pool and some favorite toys that float your dog can have a blast learning to swim. Sure, it might take some coaxing but with a bit of patience you can help your dog overcome resistance to discover the sheer joy of splashing about. There are lots of videos on YouTube that will help you teach your dog how to safely get in and out of the pool. Lab and Golden parents have a head start!

Lake and River Outings! Just because we're in the desert doesn't mean we can't enjoy water in nature. The San Pedro river has several popular spots (Charleston Road and Hereford Road) where leashed dogs can frolic in the water. We also have Parker Canyon Lake and Patagonia Lake relatively close by. With a retractable or long leash and some sticks you have a party waiting to happen.

Hiking in the Pines! A drive to the top of Carr Canyon transports you to pine country where the temperature is at least 10 degrees cooler and there are well-maintained hiking paths for leashed dogs to enjoy nature at its finest. For a day trip you can head over to the Chiricahuas where you'll find spectacular views around every bend for you and your canine companions to explore.

Remember to always take plenty of fresh water for yourself and your dogs, poop bags and towels (damp towels make excellent cooling mats for the car or when resting) and watch out for snakes and other wildlife. 


Friday, February 3, 2017

Clipping Cat Nails

Clipping your cat's toenails can be an easy task and is an excellent alternative to de-clawing (which surgically amputates each of your cat's toes at a joint - OUCH!)

You should start regular nail clippings with your kitten. This is going to protect not only your furniture but your hands and arms from those frisky kitten moments, too! But what if your cat is an adult? Don't worry, you can still start this grooming routine!

Maggie is in deep relaxation mode!
Start with a sleepy cat. The objective is to set yourself, and your cat, up for success and a sleepy cat is much easier to manage. Hold your cat as you would hold a baby when rocking it to sleep and quietly pet her as she relaxes. If she is not used to this you'll want to leave it at this and repeat this step several times over the course of a week or two or until she comes to willingly accept it. During this time gently touch her legs and feet as you are quietly petting her to get her used to having those areas touched while she is relaxing. She may even fall asleep! Avoid struggling! If she resists at any point, let her go and try again the next time she is sleepy. 

Once you've gotten her used to this handling begin gently pressing her toes to expose her toenails so she gets used to this. The front feet are the best starting place. When she is relaxed while her feet are being handled you can clip the tip of one toenail. This may cause her to stir, don't restrain her. Gently pet her until she relaxes again. Continue clipping toenails for as long as she remains relaxed.  Be very careful to avoid cutting into the quick - luckily cats have clear nails and you will see this blood vessel.

This process may take several days to clip all of the toenails, particularly on her back feet. With regular sessions you will be able to get the job done in just a few minutes each time! My cat, Maggie, takes it all in stride and she will usually fall asleep either while I'm clipping her nails or after I finish. I have leather furniture and it remains unscathed even though she has her mad-dash moments when she bounces off of the sofa, walls, chairs, etc. 


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Pooper Scooper Service

We know it's the least favorite job a pet parent has! You may have been putting it off for weeks or (yikes!) months - don't worry! 

Our pooper scooper service will keep your yard clean on a weekly, twice monthly or monthly basis. With rates starting at just $15 for weekly service in an average size yard, keeping your yard clean can be effortless and affordable!

All you'll have to do is schedule a recurring service with us (preferably on trash pick up days) and allow us access to your yard - we'll do the rest!

Call or text today for your free quote. (520) 333-PETS

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Destructive Puppy Behavior

Why is it so hard to be a puppy? Because there are so many temptations! We've all been there - the furniture being shredded, your favorite pair of shoes being used as chew toys, even the walls aren't safe from Puppy Destruction! What is a puppy parent to do?

Your puppy needs rules, boundaries and limitations. They aren't going to simply "grow out of it" - a common myth people tell themselves to cope with the disasters they find when they get home. Luckily, there are several things you can do to correct the problem before you no longer have a solid piece of furniture in your home.

Crate Training. The value of crate training cannot be overemphasized. Your puppy will find comfort
having a quiet, den-like place to sleep and you will have the ability to not only stop destructive behavior but also master potty training in record time! Be sure to research proper crate training techniques to avoid causing separation anxiety issues that can be dangerous for your puppy trying to escape from the crate.

Exercise. A tired puppy is a good puppy. You'll need to spend the first few months giving your puppy regular exercise outings several times a day to burn off that energy. This is a great time to teach her how to walk on a leash and play fetch.

Substitution. When your puppy is spending supervised time outside the crate be sure to have toys handy to substitute for the things he is going to try to play with. A squeaky toy is much more interesting than an electrical cord. A tennis ball can distract his attention from your shoes. Take the cue that when he is overjoyed at the abundance of household items that are tempting him it is time to take him out for some vigorous exercise.

We offer puppy visits to let your puppy out for potty and play time during those crucial first few months. Give us a call or schedule online!